Showing posts from January, 2017

Let Them In

“How are you?”
The tears hit my cheeks, coursing down my face as I walked to my car after work.
Quickly I ducked inside, dried my face, and tried to focus on driving.
It had been a rough day, and even though I knew my dad wouldn’t completely understand, he was a good listener. So I unleashed my thoughts to my dad, who was quietly listening hundreds of miles away.
The challenges had snuck up on me, and a busy work day had masked the inner turmoil I was facing. Getting through work when outside forces are surrounding you (whatever they may be) can be daunting as adults, but what about our students?
What might be the outside forces pressing down on our students’ lives that make it seem insurmountable to face one more quiz, test, homework assignment, or “meaningless group activity” when there are more important worries crowding their thoughts?
Seth Godin writes in his book Linchpin that schools should only teach two things:
Solve interesting problems Lead
If this was the case, then perhaps th…

FAST FORWARD - Animal Allies

Sharon Harris from Mill Creek partners with Jeremy Raper from Bob Jones to solve a real world problem that couldn't have been done without the connecting and partnering of these two teachers and their students. 
Edited by JCHS Junior, Christian Arnsparger

What is my life...? + some great info from LINCHPIN

Today, for roughly 9 hours my job in education focused on receipting money.  Our theatre group was awarded one of the highest honors in the state and allowed to be passed onto SETC, which will take place in Lexington, KY, in early March 2017.  Although it was and is a huge honor, for some reason I feel like I'm being punished.  We juggled over 10 fundraisers and with the help of 5 boosters we receipted all the money over a course of 3+ hours and then I spent the rest of my school day and until about 7 PM tonight inputting all of the receipts into one giant spreadsheet to reflect students' current balances.  The 10 fundraisers have been a constant obstacle to my teaching over the past few weeks because I've been inundated with questions from about 80 students and had class interrupted daily to help students with questions.  One day, we will hopefully pass all of this to a booster club, but we're not there just yet.

When my role in education is receipting money, I ask my…


1) Solve interesting problems and 2) lead. These are the only two things we should teach in school. Yes!!! The more I reflect on this idea in Linchpin (especially the former)the more I agree. I like that author uses the word "interesting" to describe the problems. As a librarian, I am constantly helping students with research. I believe students must really find the problems interesting to fully commit to learning. This week, I started a research project with all my third graders. I started every lesson with this quote by Walt Disney: "We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." I want students to know how important I think it is to be curious. It saddens me when students say they are bored or leave the library without finding a book. I do not want them to view reading/learning as a chore, and personally challenge myself to change their viewpoint on a daily basis. I can…

FAST FORWARD - Manna House

Kris Gray, media specialist from Mill Creek Elementary, takes us on a journey into how she and other educators worked with students and their community to connect math, empathy, and community participation into a single longterm project. Edited by JCHS junior, Christian Arnsparger.

FAST FORWARD - Motivalls

This week's Fast Forward comes from Robin Dauma and her "Innovations" students at Bob Jones High School. Inspired by Don Wettrick's Pure Genius, Robin Dauma partners with her "Innovations" students on a journey to improve the look, feel, and culture of their high school. Motivational quotes on the wall = Motivalls. Enjoy! We hope this gets you thinking about the philosophy of using education to improve their world.

Zen and the art of failure
The word failure brings with it a collection of negative emotions and feelings. We are taught from a very young age that failure is bad. Failure is a point of no return. Failure is an end. Webster’s dictionary actually defines failure simply as “lack of success”. I would argue, with the exception of skydiving, that failure is really the catalyst to a new beginning or at the very least, a pirouette to a new direction. As an educator, I’ve had failure on my mind a lot lately. I see students both in the classroom and in the media center hitting roadblocks in learning that they perceive as failures.  It’s disheartening to see a student shut down from what they perceive as an end. I recently watched a TEDed video entitled What I learned from 100 days of rejection by Jia Jiang And it was easy to interchange the idea of rejection with failure. The premise of the video is that by purposefull…

@Instagram in the #Classroom

I first created a teacher Instagram account when I had the idea to have students respond to an image with creative hashtags. As students began to follow me, I realized that I could be using this outlet for so much more than one or two brief activities. These are a few ways that I have used Instagram in the past, both inside and outside the classroom to engage my students and foster deeper relationships.

1. Student Shout-Outs

We all teach students who are involved in something outside of academics, and although it is impossible to make it to every event, I bring my phone with me to the events that I am able to attend and make sure to post a picture of the student I came to see. Oftentimes their classmates will "like" the post and even write encouraging comments. My students appreciate these "shout-outs" and it is an easy way to show students that we care about them.

2. Parent Involvement

I encourage parents to request to follow my teacher Instagram account in order…

The American Dream

The Old American Dream:

Keep your head down
Follow instructions
Show up on time
Work hard
Suck it up will be rewarded.

The New American Dream: 

Be remarkable
Be generous
Create art
Make judgement calls
Connect people and ideas
...and we have no choice but to reward you.

(Seth Godin, 2010)

We all know that we don't instinctively work for extrinsic rewards in our field.  Our rewards are the successes of our students...and this is how we'll do it.